Miguel Arteta

Director

On the state of things: I think the state of independent cinema is great. If you look at what gets nominated for Oscars these days, it’s independent movies. It’s the kind of movies that Sundance started to promote 20 years ago.

I’m very optimistic. It would be very nice if exhibitors and theaters would be more patient with movies, give them more chance to grow, to get word of mouth and build. We also have to open our eyes to the fact that television will have to become an important factor in indie filmmaking. There’s an instant access to the audience that we want in cable television. When you make an independent film with a challenging subject, if you’re lucky, 200,000 to 300,000 people (go) to see it. That’s a great success, like $3 million at the box office. Fantastic. But the moment it premieres on cable, 5 million people have seen it.

The future: The digital revolution has caused a lot of positive change. For two reasons: We’re communicating with each other a lot more now. Films cost less, so filmmakers are not competing for the same financing the same way. Also, people are sharing information about this new technology. That sense of community is much stronger than it was before digital, and I think that’s good for independent filmmaking.

The entry price into filmmaking has just plummeted in the last three years with digital filmmaking and editing. My biggest fear is people picking up a camera and not paying attention to their own vision, trying to imitate other people. Trying to figure out what’s popular, trying to be self-promoting in some sort of way. Your own thoughts, your own vision, that’s the best weapon you have to make independent films. That’s your currency.

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